GCIT expansion continues through the snow

Saturday, December 26, 2009
By Pete McCarthy
pmccarthy@sjnewsco.com

DEPTFORD TWP. The Gloucester County Institute of Technology is quickly transforming as work continues on a 46,000-square-foot addition that will be the final piece of the expansion puzzle.

Even close to 2 feet of snow this week could not slow the construction efforts, which when completed, will mean 23 additional classrooms and space for 325 more students at the high school.

"Things are progressing nicely," said Freeholder Joseph Brigandi Jr., liaison to the county's department of education. "When you know you have such a high demand and have a waiting list of students wanting to get into these programs, being able to cut that waiting list down is rewarding."

The work on the final expansion effort began in March, when officials broke ground on the project, designed by Garrison Architects of Mt. Laurel..

It remains on schedule to be completed before the beginning of the 2010 school year in September.

The foundation is set, walls and the roof are up, and now construction crews are working on the interior.

The district should have its certificate of occupancy by June, which will allow the final touches to be completed, according to county Director of Education and Disability Services Fred Keating.

"We really need this space," said Keating. "We have too many interested kids and not enough places to put them."

Some of the classrooms will have a "smart" design, which includes wireless Internet capabilities and other amenities. All equipment for this was obtained with grant funds, according to Brigandi.

The expansion is also looking to make the high school a "green" campus,

In addition to expanding the career technical programs, including culinary arts and cosmetology, it will also expand the academy programs.

The latest project was originally announced last year as a plan to construct a new school on the campus in Deptford. It would be an Academy School that would give some high school students a chance to get an associate's degree while still in high school.

Those who choose to enter the academy program will be on track to get their two-year degrees one year after graduating from the high school. The final courses will be taken at neighboring Gloucester County College.

County officials realized there was a definite need to expand the campus when it became a full-time high school.

"We've already gotten 450 applications and we haven't visited all the schools yet," said Director of Admissions Eileen Shute. "With this economy, they are driven with the 30 college credits. It's a huge savings for a family."

Bids for this latest expansion effort came in at $13 million. The county will look to recoup nearly half of the cost associated with this project through state aid.

Once all of the work is finished, GCIT will be able to handle up to 1,500 students.

Officials are looking to recruit those interested in attending GCIT when this additional space becomes available.

Information can be obtained by going to www.gcit.org or contacting the admissions office at (856) 468-1445 ext. 2111. The school is open to all high school-aged children who live in the county.

Two information sessions have been scheduled for Jan. 6 and Jan. 26. Both will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held in GCIT's gymnasium. Parents of incoming freshmen are welcome to attend.

 

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